April 13, 2024
Mercury News Letters to the Editor for Aug. 30

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Bridge users need
voice in toll hike talks

Increasing tolls to pay BART is simply taxation without representation. BART has only one crossing while there are three toll bridges. Even if BART ran at capacity across the Bay, we would still have traffic jams on the bridges during commutes

The horribly mismanaged BART cannot justify rate increases, increased sales tax or a bail-out from either the state or federal government. In this scenario, the only way to raise funds is to tax a small unprotected group like bridge commuters.

I say take a vote of FasTrak users only and see what they say.

Phil Arnold
Redwood City

Legislature must
rein in robotaxis

Increase in robotaxis is driving some people nuts” (Page A1, Aug. 21).

Robotaxis are now out of control and dangerous. If I drove like they already have — stopping abruptly for no reason, blocking emergency vehicles, going through stop signs — I would be punished, and soon have my license suspended. Why are these cars not subject to the same rules?

Using city streets to test and improve an early-stage consumer product is dangerous and unfair. We would not allow a new food product, medical device or appliance released to the public with this level of unreliability and demonstrated danger. Since my city and your city are legally powerless to protect us from the companies that now put dangerous, uncontrolled, one-ton moving objects on city streets, we must get the Legislature to act. I have written my state senator and assemblyperson — please do so, too.

Marty Klein
Palo Alto

EVs and solar are
not going to save us

Re: “Stop subsidizing climate destroyers” (Page A12, Aug. 27).

I was amused by David Coale’s letter stating that “our tax dollars should not be killing the Earth.”

Consider the amount of the massive strip mining operations needed for EV battery raw materials, all done by huge diesel-powered equipment and massive investments. Ending fossil fuels ends EV battery production. This doesn’t even take into consideration the amount of hazardous materials needed for solar panels, most of which are not recycled at the end of their lives.

There’s a place for EVs and solar, but please quit telling us that these are going to save the planet.

Terry Harnish
San Jose

We must pull tax
dollars from fossil fuels

Re: “Stop subsidizing climate destroyers” (Page A12, Aug. 27).

David Coale is correct when he says we must stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. A recent analysis by the International Monetary Fund stated that the fossil fuel industry is currently being subsidized at a rate of $13 million per minute. If this rate were applied locally, for example, it could pay for the Bay Area transit deficit ($2.5 billion) in 3.2 hours; BART to San Jose ($9.3 billion) could be funded in 12 hours and high-speed rail ($128 billion) could be funded in 6.8 days.

According to the world counts, global subsidies for fossil fuels could completely mitigate climate change more than six times over. We must stop subsidizing, with our tax dollars, the destruction of our planet; this is crazy.

Jeralyn Moran
Palo Alto

PG&E power is
anything but cheap

Re: “Time for utility users to pay the piper” (Page A6, Aug. 25).

I agree with Barry Jackson that citizens should quit “whining” and acknowledge their “responsibility” for PG&E policies. I disagree with his contention that PG&E electricity is cheap.

The national average cost for electricity is 15 cents per kilowatt-hour. My latest bill shows that I pay 33 cents per kilowatt-hour for Tier 1 usage and 41 cents per kilowatt-hour Tier 2 usage; 220% and 273% respectively of the national average.

I suspect that Californians pay more for almost everything because of the actions of highly paid lobbyists, militant public service unions, extreme environmentalists and venal politicians.

K. R. Kummerer
Saratoga

Constitutional
convention dangerous

Re: “Changing Constitution only route to gun control” (Page A6, Aug. 25).

While I too would like to see Second Amendment rights revised, endorsing Gov. Newsom’s call for a constitutional convention, as John Francis seems to do, is a very dangerous idea.

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As the League of Women Voters of California states, “Opening a constitutional convention puts every right, civil liberty, and underlying value of our country at risk. There are no limits or guardrails to what can be changed during a constitutional convention and it opens the door to well-funded special interests buying access to change the Constitution to serve their purposes.”

Former Chief Justice Warren Burger noted, “[T]here is no way to effectively limit or muzzle the actions of a constitutional convention. The convention could make its own rules and set its own agenda.” In short, it is not a way to make one change, it is a Pandora’s box that could upend our entire system of government.

Ellen Smith
Palo Alto

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